Our Free Advertising
As we roam the country by bus, inevitably there will be an occasional finger pointing at a bright orange sign. You may have seen one, too. This year, it’s my friend Angelia Wang leaping happily on Shen Yun’s billboards. About a week ago, we drove past the gleeful girl, and I began to wonder—if one Angelia billboard costs, say, $2,000 a month, how much would a hundred Angelia’s? A thousand? How many mansions could I buy for that amount?
Billboards, kiosks, and television commercials do add up. But recently I was reminded that here with Shen Yun, we have an advantage. Sometimes we get plenty of advertising for free.
On January 18, Seattle’s City Council received a letter from the Chinese Consul General in San Francisco. The letter’s intention couldn’t be more obvious: sabotage the show. Again.
According to The Epoch Times, the Chinese communist regime’s letter cautioned the American elected officials “not to provide a proclamation or letter of support for Shen Yun, not to attend the performance, nor give interviews to media about Shen Yun.” It then proceeded with its trademark party line about us.
Bad? Yes. Shocking? Not really anymore—it's not the first time. It seems like wherever we perform, P.R.C. embassies and consulates are always up to something. They tightly monitor ethnic Chinese groups overseas, and terrorize anyone who acts too independently. Shen Yun—whose mission is to revive the traditional Chinese culture that the Communist Party has worked so hard to destroy—is no exception.
So when we heard of the letter incident two weeks later, we sighed. And then we went on with our lives. Besides, every time they try to obstruct us by slashing our bus tires or threatening audiences not to watch our show, it’s like getting a free commercial. Their machinations rouse the press, enrage people, and most helpfully, boost our ticket sales.
It’s only on rare occasions that these ruses succeed. Back in 2010, just days before our Hong Kong debut, with our performers' bags already packed and all seven shows completely sold out, the Hong Kong government revoked the entry visas of several key members of our production team. That really was a shame.
Later that year, the theater in Moldova’s capital blocked our show by not letting us enter the theater on the morning of our first performance. We discovered that the theater director as well as the mayor had been recently contacted by the Chinese embassy on multiple occasions regarding Shen Yun. The remainder of the day consisted of press conferences and the arrival of unhappy audiences (though they later returned with flowers to console the performers).
Last year in Seoul, the Chinese Communist Party interfered again. But this time the press was up in arms, the local Korean district court intervened, and the show went on as scheduled.
And history repeats. This time, we arrived in Seattle two days before our performance, the press interviewed us, and ticket sales were never better. If we had promotion like this everywhere, we could spare all those advertising costs and start saving up for a mansion.
March 5, 2012